Sunday, August 25, 2013

Losing Egypt

I go away for 2 weeks and what happens, Egypt slides even deeper into crisis and the US is making a fundamental mistake in its foreign policy. Back to reality, Egypt is on the brink of a civil war, 24 Egyptian Army soldiers were executed by Islamic extremists in Sinai. The actions by the MB supporters in Sinai is intended to draw the Army forces into Sinai away from Egypt proper. Also, the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood was arrested by the interim government and is due to be tried and the Army-dominated government has released former Pres. Mubarak from arrest.

When Pres. Mubarak was replaced by a popular uprising, the US did not know what to do, since Mubarak had been a US ally. Many analysts warned Pres. Obama that dumping Mubarak would be equivalent to Pres. Carter's dumping of the Shah of Persia, that led to the catastrophic loss of Iran and the advent of a fundamentalist Islamic State that has become the source of anti-American activity and terrorism.

But, Pres. Obama made the same liberal mistake, he supported the uprising as a democratic movement. But, the Muslim Brotherhood, an anti-democratic fundamentalist Islamic party, quickly gained strength and took over the uprising and their candidate Morsi was elected President. After a year of strengthening his power base and decimating the Egyptian Army command, Morsi was well on the way to establishing an MB dictatorship in Egypt. It was only the continuation of the uprising and the support by the new army chief General al-Sissi that prevented this. It is clearly in US interests to support the Army since it is on the side of the democratic forces opposing the MB and is the only guarantor of future pro-Western stability in Egypt.

However, once again a US President is making the same liberal mistake of opposing the Army and supporting the candidate of the anti-democratic forces. The US has hinted that military aid to Egypt would be cut, although they have stopped short of making that catastrophic blunder. Meanwhile, instead of focussing on the actual crises in the Arab world, including the civil war in Syria, the continued fighting in Iraq, Libya and Tunisia, and now the chaos in Egypt, the US Secretary of State Kerry is focussing on the wrong conflict, namely that between the Palestinians and Israel. It should be clear to anyone with any sense that the Palestinian conflict has no relevance whatsoever to what is happening in Syria and Egypt, and that the consquences of these civil wars are far more significant for the US and the West in general than resolving the Palestinian conflict. In fact, the Palestinians are a mere side-show to the deeper rifts that are sweeping the Arab/Muslim world.

By supporting the rights of the MB demonstrators, rather than supporting the Army in trying to bring stability out of the Egyptian chaos, Pres. Obama is in danger of losing Egypt!


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